Happy Flock, SpeedTiles, and iOS 11

Both Happy Flock and SpeedTiles were written several years ago using the Cocos2D game engine and built as 32-bit binaries. 

Two big changes. First, Cocos2D development was halted. (We've moved onto Unity3d for newer projects, but if you want to stay with Cocos, check out Cocos2d-x. Both are great.) And second, iOS 11 requires apps to be 64-bit.

So as of right now, neither Happy Flock nor SpeedTiles will run on iOS 11 devices.

We're figuring out the best way to bring both games to 2017. If you want to be informed about when we publish iOS 11 compatible-updates, please contact us, and we'll let you know as soon as they're available.

Our apologies to the fans of these games. And thank you for your patience.

Farewell to HDI. Hello to Happy Flock and SpeedTiles.

Before Explore West Interactive, we were part of the indie game studio, Hidden Door Interactive. With Hidden Door, we published two great games, Happy Flock and SpeedTiles

Today we say goodbye to Hidden Door. And Explore West says hello both of those great games. We promise to take good care of both of them. Look for updates later this year!

The following leads to HDI's farewell message:

Zero on Android 2.0!

We've updated Zero on Android to v2.0! What does that mean? Well, we first got Zero onto Android via SpriteBuilder's Android plugin, but that's no longer a valid option. So we decided to port the game on another game development system that was (a) straightforward to use and (b) supported multiple platforms easily, including both iOS and Android.

We searched far and wide (or possibly just Googled around for a few hours). In the end, we gave the rose to Unity 3D, specifically Unity 5.1. Overall, we're very happy with the choice. Deep-down, Unity is a 3D game engine, but their 2D support was more than enough for a game like Zero. And Unity's roadmap for additional 2D features is strong.

Besides what's under-the-hood, what else is new? First, we added a level system and revamped the scoring system to factor in the level: the longer you last, the higher the level, the more points you earn per chip. Second, we also added a special x2 chip which doubles the value of every chip for several seconds. Combine a higher level, x2 chip, and a Gold Horseshoe run, and you can really rack up the points!

Finally, "scientific" studies reveal the game is  20.3% slicker under Unity versus the original. ;)

That's just the start. With Zero Android running on Unity 3D, we have an awesome platform to introduce additional features. So stay tuned for more! 

(Ok, we also added ads. The Android version has to support itself somehow in this crazy world.)

Zero on Android

We finally ported the iOS version of Don't Touch The White Zero! (DTTWZ) to Android! It's available on the Google Play store right now. 

We created the iOS version of DTTWZ with SpriteBuilder which is their Scene Editor + Cocos2D + Objective-C. We then used their Android plugin to compile the iOS project (Objective-C code and all) into an Android APK file. A pretty smooth experience overall, and it didn't take as long as we initially thought. There were a few issues, but we think we worked around them (knock on wood). 

If you have a SpriteBuilder or even a Cocos2D (Objective-C) project, we'd recommend checking out their Android plugin. There's a free version to get the game running and paid tiers whose main benefit is an Object-C-to-Java bridge (to call Java code from Objective-C).

P.S. Despite today's date, we really did port the game!

*** UPDATE 6/25/2015: Apportable dropped support for SpriteBuilder and their Android plugin. So we can no longer recommend them for bringing iOS games to Android. It was fun while it lasted. But don't worry, we'll keep supporting Zero on Android. We'll report how pretty soon.

Why you should start your video game company in Canada.

The CEO of Big Viking Games wrote a great post at VentureBeat on the benefits of starting your video game company in Canada. He focuses on Ontario and specifically Toronto, but you should also consider Vancouver, British Columbia too.

We'll write our own post on setting up shop in BC later. In the meantime, some quick reasons on why Vancouver is the place to be for video game companies (and app developers in general):

  • Finally, join us this summer when we go try this!

(BTW, that's Celsius. In Fahrenheit, it's Vancouver 46.4 vs. Toronto 1.4.)